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Captain Phillips (2013)
Exhausting, Thrilling and Powerful.
Paul Greengrass has proved his talents with two fantastic Bourne films, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, and two impressive real-life dramas, Bloody Sunday and United 93. Green Zone, while being a little like Bourne in Baghdad, was also a worthy thriller. Captain Phillips sees Greengrass deliver another true story to the big screen, proving that he is indeed the current king of cinematic re-enactments.
Tom Hanks gives one of his finest performances in a long time. His Captain Phillips is a professional, serious man that keeps his emotions in check while sternly ensuring his crew understands his expectations. As the situation escalates, his emotions begin to creep through. Leading towards a final release that is both heartbreaking and relieving. Hanks' character isn't explored too deeply, but we are nevertheless with him every step of the way.
In a fantastic casting choice, Tom Hanks is more than matched by Barkhad Abdi, who truly shines as the lead pirate. We're given more access than expected to this character – to all four pirates for that matter. Abdi manages to evoke empathy from a character that could have easily succumbed to stereotypical villainy. His performance provides a complex level of emotion to the proceedings. He knows that the situation has easily ran away from him, yet he naively decides to re-assure himself – and Captain Phillips – every chance he gets.
This is no-nonsense filmmaking of the highest order. Paul Greengrass' kinetic camera rises above the sometimes dizzying approach from some of his last films. The hand-held factor works beautifully here, ensuring the you-are-there level of realism is cranked to a ten at every second. As the events escalate, we are always kept aware of what is happening. While skipper jargon and navy terms are exclaimed every which way, care is placed on making sure we still know exactly what is going on. Billy Ray (Breach, State of Play, The Hunger Games) constructs a taut and clear screenplay that compliments Greengrass' filmmaking style.
To call this tense is an understatement. Henry Jackman's score pushes every sequence to an almost unbearable level of tension, Barry Ackroyd's cinematography beautifully captures the sweat and intensity of every moment, and Christopher Rouse's masterful editing brings it all home.
Exhausting and thrilling, Captain Phillips is all the more powerful with the knowledge that you're witnessing a true story. Paul Greengrass and co. have crafted an experiential film that you won't be forgetting in a hurry.
Metallica Through the Never (2013)
Orgasmic heights for rock fans, everyone else needn't apply.
Concert films, generally speaking, are made specifically for fans of the artist or band. Thus, making it slightly difficult to objectively critique this type of film without leaning to the biased opinions of their music. Fans will no doubt have a field day, others will be momentarily entertained before growing weary of the proceedings.
The film follows the aptly named Trip (Dane DeHaan), a young roadie who works for Metallica. During one of their latest concerts, Trip is sent on a mission to retrieve a mysterious item from a broken down truck. What starts out as a straight-forward task, soon descends into a surreal fight for survival. The streets quickly become a battleground for rioters and law enforcement officers, while a malevolent and murderous horseman makes it his mission to kill our young roadie. Will Trip manage to deliver this mysterious package – or even survive this bizarre hell that has taken over the city? This plot unfolds in sections; as we go back and forth between Trip's adventure and Metallica's concert. The concert itself is truly impressive. A feat of stage wizardry and technical performance, Metallica's live show is a visual spectacle that manages to creatively incorporate various elements of live-effects. Obviously, fans will rock along regardless of what unfolds on stage, but every couple of songs brings a new element that will at least renew the visual interest in their performance.
Stage technicality and concert values aside, non-fans will inevitably get bored. As the songs progress, many will find their interest dwindling, wanting to return to Trip's predicament as a sort of breather. This is where Metallica: Through the Never runs into trouble. Trip's journey doesn't engage as much as it initially promises to, but director Nimród Antal (Kontroll, Vacancy, Armored, Predators) brings creativity and an infectious level of energy to the mix. There are some dynamic sequences that make no sense whatsoever, but damn they look cool. This is the general formula that drives the spark towards a dying fizzle by the time the film finishes.
Surreal and bizarre, Trip's plot doesn't offer more than visual flourishes. Special effects and slick transitions may look great on the big screen, but an almost cocky level of artsiness will have more eyes rolling than eyebrows raising. As a sort of MacGuffin, this mysterious package doesn't ever add up to much. In fact, nothing that takes place arrives at a satisfactory conclusion. How the concert connects with Trip's trip is beyond me, although Metallica fans may have answers in abundance.
This brings me to the overall point. While the film's concert impresses, the films elusive concept doesn't quite connect with non-fans. Unless your willing to simply enjoy the music and accept the strangeness of the overall story arc, then you won't be left satisfied in the slightest. A Metallica film aimed squarely at those that throw finger-horns and head-bang. Metallica: Through the Never could very well reach orgasmic heights for rock fans, everyone else needn't apply.
The Smurfs 2 (2013)
105 Minutes of Smurf-tacularly Bad Filmmaking.
Those little blue people are back in this unfortunate sequel to a terrible children's film. Yep, this is the type of film to make a grouch out of every poor adult – or person above the age of five – that has to sit through 105 minutes of smurf-tacularly bad filmmaking.
The villainous Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is back with a dastardly plan to turn his new creations, Naughties (pretty much Smurfs – but gray), into Smurfs. When Smurfette is kidnapped and taken to Paris, a group of Smurfs get the help of Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris), his wife Grace (Jayma Mays) and his stepfather Victor (Brendan Gleeson) to get her back.
It's actually almost impressive how many factors one movie can get wrong. Okay, this a kids film, but does that mean you have to treat the audience to such poor filmmaking and lackluster dialogue? Where to begin. The film's plot moves along at a fast enough pace, but the film still feels incredibly long. It all comes down to the poor construct of what is essentially one long chase. The Smurfs chase Smurfette all over Paris, always one step behind. This is all well and good, but you'll be left wondering how you got from point A to B in such an inexplicable way. After a while every sequence is like a rehash of the one before it, placing a spotlight on the lack of imagination that has gone into the screenplay. Admittedly, these sort of spoils are easily forgiven in a film intended for children, but when you mix it up with a "message" that is hammered all the way through, then the annoyances begin to add up pretty quickly.
Hank Azaria certainly puts in his all with Gargamel. Sure, he's evil and clearly a bad guy, but after a while Azaria's irritatingly over-the-top antics start to grate. His interactions with Azrael, a truly embarrassing CG cat, provide some slight comic relief – till they repeat everything. You can't help but feel for the whole cast. Harris, Mays and Gleeson are all capable of so much more, but you can't blame them for what starts out terrible on paper.
The film is surprisingly cruel, lingering on scenes of borderline torture and pain. I may be overreacting slightly, but there's an uneasy sense of malice that seems at odds with the overall point they seem to be getting at. I suppose this could be a good way to introduce the little ones to torture-porn.
The dizzying 3D is simply tacked on to distract the kiddies from noticing the poor storyline and the inclusion of France is simply done as a deal with the tourism board. Terrible song choices, mediocre visual effects, awful dialogue and an overly preachy message. Yes, The Smurfs 2 manages to tick off as many negative boxes as you can in a children's film. A small child may be more forgiving and they may even enjoy themselves, but anyone else will be looking for the Smurfin' 'Exit' signs.
The Hangover Part III (2013)
When it's funny, it's hilarious. When it's lame, it's painful.
The Hangover Part III is pretty different from the first two films. The comedy remains vulgar, crass and rude. There are scenes of murder, animal cruelty and racism, so it's another day at the office for director Todd Phillips and his team. The difference with this one is the fusion of the action-thriller genre. Some scenes are surprisingly serious and intense. Don't get me wrong, this is still primarily a comedy, but there's a certain level of malice here that makes it feel both fresh and uncomfortable. It isn't easy to find the comedy in the suffocation of a rooster or the cold-blooded execution of a man into a pool. At least the plot-line here doesn't repeat the blueprint from number one.
The thriller element aside, the comedy is mostly still here. Zach Galifianakis once again takes the spotlight as the juvenile Alan and Ken Jeong gets a much bigger role this time round. They both provide laughs, but they're also both quite irritating. The great thing about the first film is that Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms provided a relief of sorts from the moronic actions of these two characters, not any more. Their collective craziness get thrust into the foreground and it becomes a little exhausting.
In terms of comedy, The Hangover Part III does provide laughs, but it isn't consistent. When it's funny, it's hilarious. When it's lame, it's painful. Todd Phillips can certainly direct comedy well (he has also directed Road Trip and Old School) and he delivers some pretty funny moments. He has definitely upped the style in his direction this time round. Some sequences are stylishly directed and choreographed, others are annoyingly self-absorbed.
All in all, The Hangover Part III is a mixed bag. There are things to enjoy and there are things to dislike. It's better than the second entry, but it still isn't close to the first. Kudos to the team for attempting to do something a little different with the last film in the trilogy, too.
The Croods (2013)
Entertaining family film that is truly enjoyable.
Dreamworks' latest animated film is here. The Croods tells the story of a caveman family who embark on an epic journey once their beloved cave is destroyed.
Some say that, when it comes to cinema, it isn't too hard to entertain the kids. That may be slightly true, but it's the films that entertain both adults and children that deserve the marks.
This family's journey across a landscape that is both spectacular and perilous forms the perfect storyline for some great characterization and incredible animation. Directors/writers Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders have clearly put in a lot of effort to ensure that this isn't just a run-of-the-mill animated flick.
The characters are truly well written and well thought out. Witnessing the dynamics of this crazy family is both hilarious and touching. The talented voice cast (Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener) do a great job in fleshing out these quirky characters.
The animation is top-notch. The emotional expressions, the changing landscape, the wild creatures, everything about this imaginative world is beautifully realized.
Of course, the film dips into cliché-mode every now and then, but that's not a crime. This is a funny, entertaining family film that is truly enjoyable. It may not reach the heights of some of the classics, but it gets pretty close.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Predictable Yet Entertaining
Pacific Rim's unwillingness to linger on explanations works beautifully. Before you know it, you've been thrown directly into the front-line of a world where robots battling monsters has become a way of life. The opening clearly and succinctly establishes a future in which mankind has created giant robots named Jaegers to go head to head against the Kaiju, colossal monsters that have entered our world via an inter-dimensional rift on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
The key to these type of grandiose pictures is the audience's willingness to accept and believe the fantastical elements as fact. Luckily, the film speeds along at a great pace and the overall design is convincing enough that it all feels plausible.
This is especially the case with the film's explanation of the way the Jaegers are piloted. The overall idea is that two pilots, stationed in the head of this giant machine, take care of one hemisphere each: the left and the right, much like a human brain works. In order for the two pilots to be perfectly in sync with one another, their respective brains need to meld together – so to speak. It's an interesting concept that gives the film ample room to explore the emotional ramifications of being able to share the thoughts and memories of another person. And it also ties in with the film's key theme of humanity joining forces to take control of an extreme problem.
Now, let's focus on this said "problem". The Kaiju are absolutely huge, terrifying beasts that are beautifully realized, and they look simply awesome on the big screen. The creatures are various enough to ensure they don't ever get boring or repetitive. Every time you think, "Wow. That one is massive!", BOOM! A new one comes along and shuts you right up.
As you can expect, the special effects are fantastic. The giant fisticuffs on display are definitely entertaining and surprisingly brutal. Limbs and innards are ripped out from both robot and creature. Annoyingly, these epic-scale fights do get a little repetitive. There are only so many unique ways you can see a giant robot punch a monster. And would it hurt to have some of these battles play out in the daylight? There are moments were you can see parts of these monsters and robots in sunlight, but the majority of these battles take place at night, making it harder to appreciate the details. Towards the end there was a battle that I was sure was going to happen in daylight, but no – not at all.
Comparisons with Transformers are inevitable. Michael Bay's massive action sequences are considered by many to be overblown and too confusing to clearly follow. The rampages here are much easier to keep track of. Del Toro makes sure that he gives you some wide shots, but I wanted more – especially with the aforementioned darkness that envelops the action.
The cast performs well, ensuring that the world and its mechanisms are convincing. As the lead character, Raleigh Becket, Charlie Hunnam (from TV's Sons of Anarchy) is good, but his character is probably the most underwritten of the lot. Idris Elba is the stand-out of the cast. His Stacker Pentecost is a perfect combination of tough-guy antics and caring father figure. Rinko Kikuchi is quite good as Mako Mori, a young woman who has a strong reason to pilot a Jaeger. Unfortunately, Mako and Raleigh's love-story never really convinces and ultimately fizzles out.
The story may be mostly entertaining, but the predictability gets quite annoying. All plot strands give irritatingly obvious signs pointing to their conclusions. Almost straight away you'll be saying, "That guy's going to die. They'll fall in love. That won't work. That will." Also, there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments that stick out like sore-thumbs amongst the film's other great factors.
Overall, Pacific Rim ticks off most of the boxes for a decent blockbuster. The special-effects are impressive, the battles are exciting and the pacing is relentless. There are a number of issues that detract from the overall experience, but this is an exciting – even exhausting – sci-fi flick that succeeds in giving enough bang for the cinema-goer buck.
Before Midnight (2013)
A simple masterpiece
The film is made up of a handful of long sequences that are no longer as positive or hopeful as those in the first two films. While it is safe to assume that Jesse and Celine still love each other, they are no longer in the exciting first stages of love. They have been together for almost ten years and the film explores their emotions that have accumulated over time. They have regrets. Regrets of dreams that were not chased and of words that were not said.
The film builds to a confrontation in a hotel room that happens to be one of the most powerful and impressive scenes I've seen in cinema for a while. Brutal, funny, heartbreaking and honest. The equivalent of a bare-knuckle boxing match, Jesse and Celine decide to spill the beans on everything that they dislike about each other. Everything comes together beautifully. Staging, direction and performances working together for a tough scene, made all the more brutal by the desire we have for them to stay together.
The aforementioned regrets and confrontation aside, Before Midnight still manages to be quite funny. Discussions on gender expectations, faithfulness, parenthood and sex provide some hilarious observations that many will be able to connect with. This is what ultimately makes the film work. Adults of all ages will be able to find a truth to hold on to. Neither Jesse or Celine is made out to be the bad-guy, which serves the film well. It's like eavesdropping on a couple's argument and being able to see both sides equally.
In terms of performances, it will be hard to find others this year that match the ones delivered by Hawke and Delpy. Both actors are exceptional, holding the audience through some incredibly long takes. It must be terrifying to act out very long sequences of dialogue while trying to keep it looking natural and spontaneous, but they succeed admirably.
Before Midnight can be painful, and at times brutal, in its attempt to give us an honest exploration of this relationship, but it still manages to be very romantic and quite funny. Richard Linklater and company have crafted a simple masterpiece here, providing insight and emotion in equal measure.
A Sweet Little Drama
Stephen Chbosky has written and directed this adaptation of his own novel. He's made a good film that tells an emotional story without resorting to cheesy, over-the-top theatrics. Charlie is a likable character that audiences can relate to. The shyness, awkwardness and insecurities that he experiences is something many can relate to. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower takes its time revealing his story – and that's a bit of a problem. The first half doesn't seem to have anything interesting or special to show or say. It's all very familiar. A kid gets bullied and wishes he was part of the cool group. We've seen it many times. The second half really grabs your attention as Charlie's issues are explored further and we begin to understand more about his new friends.
The young cast all deliver great performances. Ezra Miller (We Need To Talk About Kevin) is likable and charming and Emma Watson does a good job as Charlie's love interest. A couple more roles like this for her and audiences will begin to see her as someone other than Hermione. Logan Lermen should have big things on the horizon after his impressive performance here. He is very good as Charlie and manages to say a lot without saying much.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a decent movie that knows its target audience. Crowds have embraced this indie flick and its easy to see why. Whilst it isn't anything amazing, it's a funny, sad and sweet little drama that will resonate with teenagers and those that remember that period all too well.
Robust and Energetic
Sam Mendez may seem like a surprising choice to direct the latest installment in the Bond franchise but having him at the helm is nothing short of inspired. American Beauty, Road To Perdition, Jarhead and Away We Go showcased Sam Mendez's talent for great filmmaking and beautiful direction. He brings his talents behind the camera to create one of the best Bond films we've seen.
It's hard to know where to start complimenting a flick like this. Skyfall is a film that benefits from having everything work perfectly in sync. Mendez's clear and masterful direction ensures that every scene is wonderfully handled. There's none of that MTV styled, quick-cut, hand-held film techniques on display here. Cinematographer Roger Deakins (A Beautiful Mind, Jarhead, No Country For Old Men) does a great job as usual and gives us some great looking scenes. The silhouetted fight against the lights of a skyscraper in Macau is a highlight. Thomas Newman's (American Beauty, The Green Mile, Wall-E) eclectic score deserves a mention too. There isn't a huge reliance on the classic bond theme and the music perfectly supports the unfolding story.
Simply put, the plot is awesome. It's a multi-layered screenplay that deals with Bond's relationship with M and even looks at his childhood. Skyfall explores way more than your usual Bond flick whilst delivering all that you would expect from one. Mind you, the whole thing isn't perfect. The "Bond chicks" may be less gratuitously handled here but they are nevertheless severely underused and underwritten.
Daniel Craig has emerged as one of the best Bonds since Sean Connery. He delivers another great performance, giving Bond the perfect amount of emotional depth and internal turmoil to juxtapose his suaveness and physical prowess. If Craig is one of the best Bonds then Javier Bardem gives us one of the best Bond villains ever. He received an Academy Award for his terrifying performance in No Country For Old Men and now he's given us another memorable bad guy with Silva. He isn't just an evil guy bent on world domination, Silva has a more emotional reason for his malice that makes him all the more terrifying.
Skyfall is a robust, energetic blockbuster that will please even those who aren't Bond aficionados. There's plenty of nods to Bond films of the past and a strong determination to "refresh" the 50 year old franchise. It may be a little long for some tastes but who can really complain about there being too much of a good thing?
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
A Mixed Bag
McDonagh's comedy/thriller is a kaleidoscope of ideas and themes wrapped around a simple story. This won't be a film for everyone. The humor is extremely dark and at times quite disturbing. If you can laugh at a woman sawing a man's head off whilst he is still alive then this might be for you. Admittedly, nothing in this film is meant to be taken too seriously. The script has some pretty funny moments and some great one-liners that you'll want to write down and quote to your friends.
The main problem is McDonagh's scattershot approach. The script is so full of stories, sketches, ideas and existential discussions that it doesn't give you time to focus on or care about anything in particular. McDonagh's lucky to have such a talented cast here. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson are all fantastic. They are a pleasure to watch and make even the most self-reverential scene still entertaining.
The movie's a little too smart for it's own good. It's one of those screenwriter-makes-a-movie-about-how-he-can't-write-a-movie movies that was done much better in Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation. This review may be sounding a little too harsh. The truth is there are many good factors to be enjoyed here and Seven Psychopaths will no doubt gather itself a huge following. Nevertheless, whenever you get a mixed bag of goodies its unfortunate when you have to throw out the flavors you don't like.
The Sessions (2012)
Will Make You Laugh, Cry and Look at Life More Positively
The Sessions tells the inspirational true story of Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes), a poet/journalist who has an iron lung and is paralyzed from the neck down due to polio. At age 36 he decides to finally lose his virginity and – with the support of his friend/priest (William H. Macy) – hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt).
John Hawkes (Winter's Bone, Martha Marcy May Marlene) has been gathering accolades for his performance in The Sessions – and with good reason. He not only delivers on the physical demands of such a role but he manages to encapsulate the emotions of a man with a broken body but a good heart. It's an impressive performance that should see him at least receive an Oscar nomination come next years awards. Hawkes is almost matched by Helen Hunt. She bares all in a brave role that depicts a woman struggling with her job and her emotions. These two performances are some of the best (so far) this year. William H. Macy also gives a good performance as a likable priest that O'Brien is able to confide in.
As a whole, the film doesn't shy away from much. The sex "therapy" sessions are depicted as realistically as possible and are both funny and touching (no pun intended). Ben Lewin's direction is simple yet it manages to adequately depict O'Brien's world without sensationalizing it. It's an all round simple tale that is well told. This is an adult drama that will make you laugh, cry and look more positively at your own life. There aren't many films that do that these days.
End of Watch (2012)
Well handled and Hard hitting
It's not hard to tell that David Ayer grew up on the mean streets of South Central, Los Angeles. Training Day, The Fast and the Furious, Dark Blue and S.W.A.T. all showcase his passion for writing screenplays about these streets and the role that police officers play in them. His two films as director (Harsh Times and Street Kings) showed that he could also direct hard hitting dramas depicting the underbelly of the L.A. and the police force. End Of Watch marks Ayer's second film as both writer and director.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as a two young officers in the Los Angeles Police Department. Using the "home footage" format of filmmaking, End Of Watch shows us the ups and downs of these two young officers as they work, love and fight in the streets of Los Angeles.
In terms of subject matter this film doesn't cover anything really different. Its about cops dealing with their issues at home and on the job. This topic has been covered countless times but what makes End Of Watch different – and better – then many of its predecessors is that it holds realism as its number one priority. This is one of the most realistic portrayals of police life ever put to celluloid. The day to day lives of these two best friends are shown in a format that is both convincing and horrifying. It doesn't flinch away when showing the disturbing aspects of this high pressure career.
Using everyday video sources (chest mounted cameras, vehicle cameras, P.O.V angels, aerial shots from police choppers) definitely gives the film an unprecedented level of proximity to cops in the line of duty. Unfortunately, this format doesn't always work. Some chaotic scenes become a little bit confusing when the camera is constantly changing from first person shots to third person angles. But for the most-part it works well.
Gyllenhaal and Peña provide us with two highly believable characters and their chemistry is palpable. Whether they're talking about the women in their lives or having a friendly argument about racial stereotypes, these two actors ensure that we stick with their characters through every step of the way. Gyllenhaal continues to solidify himself as one of the best actors around and Peña delivers one of his best performances to date.
It's got a great script and a focused story that is handled confidently and told well. David Ayer has crafted an intense, hard hitting drama that benefits from the two excellent performances by the two leads.
Smart, suspenseful and Ultimately Satisfying
Affleck has surrounded himself with an excellent cast to bring this incredible true story to life. The whole cast do a great job with fantastic turns from John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston. Affleck delivers one of his best roles in a long time. His performance as a man that has put everything on the line, including his very life, to help these six strangers is what gives the film its strength. He's an unshaven, borderline alcoholic man that has set his mind to saving people on the other side of the world. That cocky-as-hell-smug-American thing Ben Affleck was once mocked for is no longer here.
Behind the camera Affleck's work is equally as impressive. Realism is the key here. He pours a huge amount of detail into every single scene so that being convinced is one of the last things the viewer has to worry about. There aren't crazy visual flourishes or fascinating editing techniques to be found - just damn good filmaking to be enjoyed. Every moment is filmed with a confident hand that incorporates Rodrigo Prieto's excellent cinematography and Alexandre Desplat's great score. Chris Terrio's screenplay manages to work as a cracking thriller with brains. It's a true story but, of course, certain liberties must be taken when developing a true story into a movie. The climax is exciting and nerve wracking but a little bit too "Hollywood" in the way that plot-lines and events all coincidentally lead up to the same point in time. But hey, it works.
Argo feels like a classic film. It's a great showcase for Ben Affleck's filmaking and acting abilities. He has crafted an excellent period thriller that will resonate with today's modern day audience and will please cinema-goers that want a smart, suspenseful film that leaves you more than satisfied. It ain't perfect but it's damn close.
Dull and Unfunny
Bachelorette attempts to replicate the success of last year's Bridesmaids. In terms of plot both are similar (bridesmaids dealing with the wedding of a best friend) but this film has nowhere near the smarts or humour that made Bridesmaids a box-office hit. It's a run-of-the-mill gross-out comedy that tries hard to be funny and offensive. While it may slightly succeed in the latter, there are barely any laughs to be found.
Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Lizzy Caplan star as three friends that are asked to be bridesmaids of Becky (Australia's Rebel Wilson), a girl they all used to ridicule in high school. One of the main problems with the movie is just how unlikeable all these characters are. I would barely want to say hi to these girls let alone spend 87 mins with them. They're a mean spirited bunch (except for Becky) that don't really have any redeeming qualities to make you care.
The actresses do their best but the script just isn't witty or entertaining enough. Writer/Director Leslye Headland doesn't write or direct with any originality or charm. The plot unfolds in skits. This wouldn't be a problem but when the sketches consist of unfunny, half-hearted attempts at humour then the movie moves towards the 'fail' category.